Signs and Wonders
East Carolina University students at a rally featuring GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan in Greenville, N.C.
Associated Press/Photo by Sara D. Davis
East Carolina University students at a rally featuring GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan in Greenville, N.C.

Signs and Wonders 10.29

Newsworthy

Early voting favors Obama. A Reuters/Ipsos survey found that Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney among early voters by a considerable margin. The survey also found that as many as 40 percent of all ballots cast this year will be by early voters. The survey says Obama leads Romney 54 percent to 39 percent. Of course, these numbers don’t add up to 100 percent, and the poll has a margin of error of 3.5 percent, so it’s possible that the early voter returns are closer.

Young voters fiscally conservative? President Obama remains the favorite among 18- to 29-year-old registered voters, as he was in 2008. But some polls also suggest that the Ron Paul reLOVEution has turned some twentysomethings into Republicans, according to John Della Volpe, the polling director at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. For instance, in one poll he found that 42 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds identified as “conservative,” compared with just over one-third who said they were “liberal.” By comparison, those proportions were nearly flipped for 22- to 24-year-olds: 39 percent said they were “liberal,” and a third called themselves “conservative.” It was much the same for older twentysomethings. Tina Wells, the head of Buzz Marketing and a Millennial marketing guru, has found that Millennials are more likely to label themselves “conservative,” ‘‘moderate,” or “independent” than “liberal.” Wells thinks it has to do with one thing: the economy. She said the “entitled generation” who got soccer trophies for just showing up was stunned when they had to start working for a living. “That bubble burst the minute the economy started tanking, and they were the ‘unemployed generation,’” Wells said. “They had to grow up.”

Ad backlash. An ad starring a young actor getting her 20 minutes of fame is causing more grief than glory for President Obama. The ad compares voting for Obama with losing your virginity. (Really. Not making this up. For more, including a video of the ad, see Janie B. Cheaney’s online column today) According to the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, “It’s low brow even for this White House, which seems to think using expletives to describe your opponent is conduct becoming a U.S. president.” Perkins is referring to Obama’s description of Romney that used, shall we say, a barnyard metaphor. “Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody,” says Lena Dunham in the ad. “You want to do it with a great guy, somebody who really cares about and understands women. … My first time voting was amazing. … Before I was a girl. Now I was a woman. I went to the polling station, behind the polling curtain, I voted for Barack Obama.” Not only is the ad getting backlash from conservatives, Perkins thinks it will actually backfire with the audience it’s supposed to attract, women. “The gender gap has all but vanished in this election. What was once a 16-point lead for Obama has evaporated, thanks in part to demeaning strategies like this one. These women are moms, too, and they recognize that a president with two young daughters should know better.”

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Not in the zone. AutoZone last week announced it could be forced to reduce full-time employees’ hours in order to avoid rising costs associated with Obamacare, which requires companies to provide “affordable” health insurance to employees who work at least 30 hours or more a week, or face penalties of up to $3,000 per employee. AutoZone Inc. employs 70,000 employees throughout the country. About 40,000 are full time. Darden Restaurants Inc., which operates Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants, announced earlier this month it plans to stop offering full-time hours to employees in four markets to offset the costs it now faces. The company’s most recent annual report said, “Changes to our healthcare costs structure could have a significant, negative impact on our business.”

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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